A project that began in early 2018, Community Justice Teams (CJT) is a collaboration between the Lab and the Citizens’ Bureau which has been working on the ground in Liberia for 8 years. CJT uses a freely-available Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism to help citizens access the formal justice system by mediating their cases.

A widespread lack of accessibility, legitimacy and timeliness within the formal justice system in Liberia often prevents proper recourse to the law for citizens – a problem that CJT is trying to eradicate. Its 9 mediators have been particularly beneficial to the people of Kakata in resolving cases including theft, misapplication and domestic violence. Mediators are actively trained and supported within communities, coordinating with the formal legal system to feed cases up and down and building trust and understanding of legal processes.

Recent innovations from CJT include working with interactive radio techniques and investigating a social impact bond for their work – a potential world-first for community justice. The program is funded by the governments of Sweden and Ireland through the Rule of Law Justice and Security Program, run jointly by the United Nations Development Program and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.